Marshall County, Kentucky
|Marshall County, Kentucky|
Location in the state of Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
|Named for||John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States (1801–1835).|
340.32 sq mi (881 km²)
304.89 sq mi (790 km²)
35.43 sq mi (92 km²), 10.41%
99/sq mi (38/km²)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Marshall County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2000, the population was 30,125. The 2007 Census Bureau population estimate was 31,258. Its county seat is Benton. It was a dry county until 2004, when residents of Calvert City voted to allow sales of liquor by the drink in restaurants. It is the only Purchase Area county to not border another state.
The county was formed in 1842 from part of Calloway County. The first settlement was around 1818, when the area was bought from Native Americans as part of the Jackson Purchase. Marshall County was named in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall, who had died not long before the founding of the county.
From its settlement until the 1930s, the county was nearly completely agricultural.
The creation of Kentucky Lake by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1940s brought tourism and industry to the county with resorts along the lake. The Kentucky Dam's cheap and plentiful electricity also attracted chemical and manufacturing plants, mostly in the Calvert City area. The creation of the lake led to the destruction of two Marshall County towns: Birmingham, located about six miles north of the present day town of Fairdealing, and Gilbertsville, which was at the present-day dam site. Gilbertsville was rebuilt somewhat to the west of its original location. Birmingham residents were dispersed. Gilbertsville was an incorporated town until the 1970s, when its charter was dissolved by public vote. Kentucky Lake (created by the impounding of the Tennessee River) and Lake Barkley (created through the impounding of the Cumberland River) make up one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the world.
Historically, Marshall County has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party. Since the founding of the county, Democrats have dominated county politics. Today, all elected county officials are Democrats, with the exception of one.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 340.32 square miles (881.4 km2), of which 304.89 square miles (789.7 km2) (or 89.59%) is land and 35.43 square miles (91.8 km2) (or 10.41%) is water.
Adjacent counties 
- Livingston County (north, across the Tennessee River)
- Lyon County (northeast, across Kentucky Lake)
- Trigg County (east, across Kentucky Lake)
- Calloway County (south)
- Graves County (west)
- McCracken County (northwest)
National protected area 
Marshall County was named Kentucky's "Best County to Live In" ten years in a row, from 1999-2009.
As of the census of 2000, there were 30,125 people, 12,412 households, and 8,998 families residing in the county. The population density was 99 per square mile (38 /km2). There were 14,730 housing units at an average density of 48 per square mile (19 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.57% White, 0.002% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.
There were 12,412 households out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.40% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.50% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.83.
The age distribution was 21.80% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 27.00% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 17.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,573, and the median income for a family was $43,670. Males had a median income of $36,673 versus $21,941 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,069. About 6.60% of families and 9.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.60% of those under age 18 and 10.90% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns 
Incorporated cities 
Unincorporated communities 
Annual events 
On the first Monday of April, Benton holds its Tater Day. Originating in 1842 as a day for farmers to gather at the county seat to trade their agricultural goods, today Tater Day is a celebration that includes a festival and parade. Tater Day derives its name from the main items traded—sweet potato slips. Tater Day is the world's only celebration of the sweet potato.
On the fourth Sunday of each May, The Big Singing, an all-day sing-along program of Southern Harmony shape note gospel music is held at the county courthouse. While other major singings still survive, The Big Singing, begun in 1884, is the only singing in the world to use the William Walker Southern Harmony system of shape-note singing. The Big Singing is also distinguished as the oldest continuously operating indigenous music festival in the United States.
Other annual events include Hardin Day and Aurora Country Festival, celebrated in the small towns of Hardin and Aurora. More recently, the area has become known for the annual Hot August Blues and Barbecue Festival and for the Kentucky Lake Bluegrass Festival, held at Kenlake State Resort Park. Marshall County is also home to Jackson Purchase barbecue, a unique style that is found in the Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky.
See also 
- Eggner Ferry Bridge
- Dry counties
- Kaintuck Territory
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Marshall County, Kentucky
- Sacred Harp
- Big Singing Day in Benton, Kentucky: A Study of the History, Ethnic Identity and Musical Style of Southern Harmony Singers, by Deborah Carlton Loftis, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1987. Review
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Calvert City official website" Retrieved 2010-12-2.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- Jackson Purchase Historical Society. Marshall County August 22, 2010, accessed December 6, 2010.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Marshall County roadside historical markers
- Marshall County schools
- Marshall County Public Library
- The Southern Harmony Online